Insurance carriers refuse to issue new policies for Kias, Hyundais as thefts skyrocket in Chicago

Chicago — Some major auto insurance companies are no longer issuing new policies for some theft-prone Kia and Hyundai models in Chicago and other big cities.

The cars, which have an ignition design flaw that makes them easy to steal by so-called “Kia boys,” are too much of a risk, and companies, including Progressive, are refusing to accept the risks.

On Friday, CWB Chicago tried to get insurance for affected Kia models in Lakeview, the Loop, and Wicker Park, but Progressive’s online quote service said no.

“We are unable to offer you a policy at this time due to high theft rates in your geographic location,” the Progressive site said after each attempt. Progressive suggested trying other carriers, including Hugo Insurance and Allstate.

CWB Chicago reporters received this result after trying to secure insurance online for a 2011 Kia in Lakeview, Wicker Park, and the Loop. | CWB Chicago

CBS2 recently reported that 10% of the Kias registered in Chicago had been stolen in 2022. The station found that 7% of Hyundais, another car model with faulty ignition systems that allow thieves to steal them with USB cables, had been stolen.

Kia and Hyundai owners in other cities are also being denied new coverage. Reports indicate that insurance companies are jacking rates way up for current customers who drive affected models.

In St. Louis, State Farm and Progressive are both turning down new policies for Kias and Hyundais manufactured between 2011 and 2021, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

“I’ve been in this industry for 15-plus years. It’s hard to call a precedent for this,” Michael Barry, a spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute, told the paper.

Some drivers of affected cars told the paper that their insurance rates had recently increased as much as 30%. One driver reported that their insurance premium is now more than when they bought the car new in 2016.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com